I had just gotten in the door from work last Thursday night when my wife told me she might have some bad news. There were rumors swirling around but nothing officially confirmed. Then just a few moments later, we learned that it was in fact true that Kentucky Wildcat basketball player Terrence Clarke had passed away after a car wreck in Los Angeles.
At the very young age of 19, he had just wrapped up his freshmen season at the University of Kentucky, and had a bright career ahead of him. He was actually in Los Angeles because he was preparing himself to join the NBA. His Wildcat teammate BJ Boston had also been working out with him and was in a vehicle right behind Clarke when the wreck happened.
On top of all of that, the Kentucky Wildcat volleyball team was literally in the middle of their national semifinal match when the news broke about Clarke.
Over the next few days, there was a huge outpouring of love and support for Clarke from many different personalities. NBA players who knew him shared their thoughts. Coach John Calipari said he was absolutely gutted, and shared a very heartfelt message for the Big Blue Nation. The Boston Red Sox, who of course aren’t even a basketball team, paid tribute to Clarke because he was from Boston and was a big Red Sox fan.
And yes, the volleyball team won their semifinal match and went on to win the championship in honor and memory of their fellow student-athlete.
This is definitely morbid to talk about, and I don’t know what it is that has changed, but for whatever reason, death has felt like more of a real thing to me lately.
I’m not particularly referring to my own, but just the idea of someone’s precious life ending has felt more real.
Perhaps I grew up desensitized to it because of movies and music that portray death and murder as just an everyday occurrence. Or perhaps it’s the Christian in me that’s never considered death as a “goodbye,” but instead just a “see ya later.”
Whatever the case may be, I look at instances such as Clarke’s passing now and really feel for him and his family. Now, more than ever, I consider the fact that the future ahead of him is no more. His life here on earth was completely cut short. I also consider his family who just lost a 19-year-old son and brother.
I say all of this to make the point that life is truly fragile. As I say it out loud, even that phrase has been something I’ve never really taken seriously. But life is without a doubt fragile.
Anyone can end up in a situation like Clarke wound up in. Just last week, I came upon two different wrecks that seemed to have happened just minutes before I got there.
It’s very easy to think that something so freakish like a fatal car wreck will never happen to us, but those types of incidences can happen to anyone.
I believe we also take our bodies and our health for granted way more than we should. In the back of our minds, we just assume our hearts and all of our organs are going to be just fine until we’re at least 100 years old.
There are many things you can do to help your body by eating a proper diet and getting plenty of exercise. But even still, there are conditions and diseases that are not prejudiced and can attack anyone.
I know it seems like I’m trying to bring everyone down this week. I just want all of us to use this sad situation to start appreciating life a little bit more and start appreciating our loved ones a little bit more. If something tragic doesn’t happen to us, it could easily happen to a friend or family member.
There is good news though.
While all of this may be sad and depressing to think about, you can be ready for whenever that day comes by giving your life to Jesus Christ and accepting his love and grace into your heart.
You can live eternally and never really die when you have complete faith in our Lord and Savior.
Just as I mentioned earlier, when we leave this world, it doesn’t have to be a goodbye forever. We can all be reunited one day in a place where we won’t have to worry about car wrecks or diseases.
All of that pain and suffering will be gone, and we’ll just be able to live forever in harmony praising God and being with our loved ones.
Revelation 21:4 says, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
My thoughts and prayers remain with the friends and family of Terrence Clarke. This is a situation that will probably weigh on them for the rest of their lives.
For everyone else, let’s make today the day we start appreciating what we have a little more. And if you haven’t done so, I strongly urge you to get to know God so you won’t have to worry about all of this sadness and can be ready for a wondrous eternity in Heaven.